In the heart of the medieval City of London, Aldgate thrived as one of its busiest gates, a bustling entryway to a city steeped in history. But Aldgate’s story didn’t end there. Over time, it transformed from a notorious hub of slums and the haunting tales of Jack the Ripper to become a vibrant cornerstone of London’s financial and insurance district.
The Minories building was formerly occupied by Aon Insurance and served as their headquarters until 2002, when the buildings fell out of use. The client’s vision was to transform and recycle the existing façade to meet the demands of a contemporary hotel taking inspiration from the East End neighbourhood it is situated in.
The original façade of the building featured load-bearing concrete fins, which had to be accommodated by installing a new weathering line, including fire-breaks, ahead of the new unitised installation.
The new skin is made up of 1,900 aluminium fins that clad the existing pre-cast frame and bridge between the glazing. These are based on just three modules that are rotated and repeated to create a three-dimensional pattern that rises rhythmically to the upper floors to dramatic effect. Seven different fin shapes have been used to compose a diagrid pattern across the elevations and the use of different colours of each fin side creates the impression of light and shade even on the north façade.
Having set a goal to cut its environmental footprint by 50% by 2030, the project accomplishes energy savings via the integration of solar panels and a green roof, effectively retaining heat within the property without requiring extra energy consumption. This development, centred on sustainability, serves as a prime illustration of adaptive repurposing and carbon reduction.
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